Rare aid delivery reaches Shifa hospital in Gaza City, UN says

An aerial view shows the compound of Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on November 7, 2023. (Bashar Taleb/AFP)
An aerial view shows the compound of Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on November 7, 2023. (Bashar Taleb/AFP)

A rare delivery of emergency medical supplies and medicines has reached Al-Shifa hospital in the war-ravaged north of the Gaza Strip, the UN says, warning though that far more was needed.

Israel says that Hamas has built its main command center underneath Shifa hospital.

In a joint statement, the heads of the United Nations agency supporting Palestinian refugees and the World Health Organization says the aid had reached Gaza’s largest hospital “despite huge risks to our staff and health partners due to the relentless bombardments.”

They highlighted that the delivery of life-saving supplies was only the second to reach the hospital, located in Gaza City, since the war between Israel and Hamas erupted over a month ago.

“While welcome, the quantities we delivered are far from sufficient to respond to the immense needs in the Gaza Strip,” UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini and Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of WHO, write in the statement.

They describe conditions at the hospital as “disastrous,” with “almost two patients for every bed” as “the number of wounded increases by the hour.”

Doctors were being forced to treat wounded and sick patients in corridors, on the floor and outdoors, “while patients are undergoing immense and unnecessary pain as medicines and anaesthetics are running out,” they say.

At the same time, tens of thousands of displaced people had sought shelter in the hospital’s parking lots and yards.

Lazzarini and Tedros urgently appeal for fuel deliveries to humanitarian agencies in Gaza.

“Without fuel, hospitals and other essential facilities such as desalination plants and bakeries cannot operate, and more people will most certainly die as a result.”

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